Championship Gameweek Six: Reading To Continue Good Form?5 min read
Reading welcome Charlton Athletic to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the Championship Gameweek Six.
Great two weeks for Reading
The Royals are through to the Third Round of the EFL Cup thanks to a 4-2 win at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night.
In terms of league form, they have taken seven points from the last nine available, having played three games against teams who were in the Premier League in the previous calender year, two of which being away.
Jose Gomes saw his side come under pressure early on in last week’s 2-0 victory at Huddersfield, but the fact they kept a clean sheet – their 9th in 28 games under the Portuguese boss’ tutelage – shows their resilience.
Michael Morrison, who has brought calming leadership qualities since joining from Birmingham, holds the back-three together and he is ably flanked by Matt Miazga and Liam Moore.
Pele, who anchors the midfield in Gomes’ 3-1-4-2 setup, provides the defensive steel to free up the neat-footed dynamo Ovie Ejaria, who has two goals in two and John Swift, a key creative outlet in recent games.
— RFC Latest (@RFCLatest) August 25, 2019
Although Reading have scored seven goals in their last three league encounters, they are still settling on their best attacking combination, with Gomes trying different front-pairings in each of those games.
Perhaps the most successful combination has been between Lucas Joao and George Puscas.
When Lucas Boye and Puscas play together, Reading are short of a focal point, as we saw in the 1-1 draw at West Brom – when Boye and Joao play together, they have two strikers who want the ball to feet in similar areas, with neither running in behind.
However, when the athletic, re-motivated, hold-up figure of Joao partners Puscas, who loves to make direct runs at defenders, Reading’s attack seems to come to life.
It is with those two on the pitch that they have scored five of the aforementioned seven league goals, despite them being on the field together for just 112 out of a possible 270 minutes – develop that combination and Reading could really motor.
Uncertainty at Charlton
Manager Lee Bowyer is the current 1/3 favourite with BetVictor to take charge of Huddersfield Town.
After a very turbulent summer at Charlton, with just 13 members of the promotion-winning squad still at the club, Bowyer has been a key, stabilising presence behind this remarkable start, with 11 points from the first 15 available.
His belief has helped young players like George Lapslie and Conor Gallagher reach new standards of performances at remarkable speed, while his passion has helped re-kindle the enthusiasm of fans, with many having felt apathetic towards the current regime before he took over.
Unless Bowyer wholeheartedly quashes all speculation before kick-off, which is possible but unlikely, there will be a great deal of uncertainty in the Charlton camp.
That uncertainty could counter the strong spirit that has been so key to their good start.
When the East Londoners beat Brentford 1-0 last week, it was not because they were better than their opponents technically – even if Jonny Williams did play a nice through ball to assist Gallagher, who produced a good finish.
Rather, the victory was fundamentally because those players were possessed with fierce determination, because they covered one another like everything depended on it and because centre-backs Jason Pearce and Tom Lockyer among others produced a series of gallant, last-ditch blocks.
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) August 24, 2019
It will be very difficult to maintain those defensive standards, especially with the situation regarding Bowyer – so with the right combination up top, Reading are worth a punt at narrow odds-on quotes.
Tip: Reading to win